Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Minnesota come out on top in NFL draft


With the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State.

The NFL draft kicked off last Thursday. This is always a fun time, because it is interesting to see what direction your favorite team is going, in order to get ready for the season.

There were no surprises at the top of the draft with Tampa Bay selecting Winston, and Tennessee selecting Marcus Mariota, the quarterback from Oregon.

There were a couple of risky picks in the first round, including Brandon Scherff, the offensive tackle from Iowa, going fifth to the Washington Redskins, when the Redskins have more pressing needs than the offensive line, and St. Louis using the tenth overall pick to select Georgia running back Todd Gurley, the Heisman favorite from a year ago, before he tore his ACL, and was lost for the year.

Many players slipped further down than anticipated because of injury or legal troubles. Quarterbacks Bryce Petty (Baylor University) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) slipped to the fourth and fifth rounds respectively. Wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri) and Jaelen Strong (Arizona State) slipped to the second round and third round respectively and defensive ends Shane Ray (Missouri)  and Randy Gregory (Nebraska) slipped to the late first and third rounds, respectively.

A couple of winners and losers from the draft: I love the players the Minnesota Vikings selected. They got one of the top corners in Trae Waynes, and they got the most athletic middle linebacker in the draft in Eric Kendricks. St. Louis and Tampa Bay could be winners as well, depending on how Gurley’s knee holds up, and if Winston can stay out of trouble off the field. Losers from the draft include the Carolina Panthers, who traded away their draft picks for prospects that probably will be no good to them for at least a couple of years. The Cleveland Browns made a couple of head-scratching moves, like drafting a center with the 19th overall pick when they needed upgrades at the quarterback and wide receiver positions.

Now it’s time for my ridiculously early Super Bowl predictions.  In the NFC, I like the Seattle Seahawks heading back to the Super Bowl. Head coach Pete Carroll is probably one of the brightest defensive minds in the game, and even though they lost some players from the “legion of boom” they gained a tight end in Jimmy Graham, and they still return Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. In the AFC, I like the New England Patriots. There’s something about Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Bill Belichick – they always find a way to get to the Super Bowl.

Keep an eye on the Green Bay Packers, with Aaron Rodgers and company; they always find a way to be in the thick of the playoff race every year. Houston is a team on the rise, with J.J. Watt, last season’s first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, and an arsenal of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Their biggest question mark is at quarterback.